America's elite crews were exactly that, winning key heats and setting world records at Schinias, where rowers were both helped and hindered by a 20 mph tail wind that made waters choppy.

The U.S. women's eight boat remained undefeated this year, winning a tight race with medal contenders Romania and Germany. The Americans led by nearly three seconds after 1,000 meters, but the Romanians charged hard over the second half, pulling within 0.3 second.

The Americans' winning time was 5 minutes 56.55 seconds, eclipsing the previous world record of 5:57.02 set by Romania in 1999. They advance to Sunday's final.

The U.S. men's eight was third after the start. By the midway point the Americans were up to second place, about 0.8 second behind Canada, then pulled ahead at the end to win by 0.6 second. They finished in 5:19.85, easily beating the previous mark of 5:22.80 set by the Netherlands in 1999.

"I know the strength of our boat in a complete race, so there was never any panic," said oarsman Wyatt Allen, a University of Virginia graduate.

Earlier, Greg Ruckman and Steve Tucker were upset by Irishmen Sam Lynch and Gearoid Towey in lightweight double sculls. They have a second chance to make the semifinals in tomorrow's repechage.

The U.S. men's lightweight four, including Woodbridge High graduate Matt Smith, was third and advanced to Thursday's semifinals.

-- From News Services

The U.S. women's eight boat set a world record with a time of 5:56.55.